The Joy (Ha!) of Budgeting

So…a new year starts on Saturday and with that, a new budget. Budgeting is so much fun. (Insert eye roll here.) So that’s what I’ve been working on today. Fun times, fun times.
 
I love when I look at the budget and I’ve stuck to it. When I look at it and overspent on groceries (usually the place where I overspend), not so much.
 
But it is what it is. And I’m working diligently – with the aid of coffee – to get the new one ready by January’s first paycheck. Some adjustments had to be made in our utilities since our son moved back home (imagine that!) but today I cancelled a couple of magazine subscriptions because I wasn’t a big fan of those particular ones anyway; cancelled Sirius XM radio; and we’d already done a bill combination thing with our satellite and cell phone service that saved us some money. (Supposedly. Hubby did that and I haven’t seen the bill to prove it yet, so we’ll see. Next week, in fact.)
 
In light of the rising cost of eating well, I think I’ll work harder on my garden this year. Like, really hard. Don’t tell Hubby, but the whole back yard might turn into a garden. And there are enough flower beds back there that can be moved so we can re-landscape the front yard without buying plants.
 
We had been doing so good since we took Dave Ramsey’s FPU last year, but the last couple of months, I’ll admit that we’ve been lax. Remiss. Budget? What’s that? And now it’s time to buckle down.
 
We’ve got a 25th wedding anniversary coming up in July. I think a really nice trip is in order. So getting the finances back in order is the first step.
 
Do you do a budget? Do you find anything (forms, websites, etc.) that work especially well? Do you have ideas for cutting costs and reducing bills? Please share with the rest of us!
 
Back to the calculator I go!
 
Lynne 🙂

What’s going on and where I’ve been…

So I’m recovering from my Alabama trip – had to go to physical therapy for my back today and it’s feeling much better. 

Have a race on Saturday – 5k…not ready for a half marathon just yet, but hoping to do one in December.

Really hoping to be be back to our “normal” next week. FYI, one can have a laundry schedule for years and leave for three days and it’s like it never existed. Just saying. 😳

Y’all have a great night! I’m going to put heat on my back as instructed. 

Lynne 

Balanced Lives

Happy Friday!

So as I’m “gearing up” to begin blogging in September, I’m doing a lot of reading. One of the books I’m reading is Finding the Life You’ve Been Looking For: The Surprising Power of Simple Living.

In the first chapter, there are four questions posed by the author. I’ll be sharing them with you and hoping for your response. 🙂

Here is the first question. (It’s fill-in-the-blank, by the way).

“If my life were balanced, I would feel…”

How would you complete that sentence?

Lynne

Hey, there!

Hey, there!

I just realized that I haven’t posted to the blog since last Wednesday. Oops! I (frequently) forget that things I post on Facebook don’t go to the blog and vice versa. I have posted some stuff on Facebook. I didn’t mean to neglect y’all.

So…how are we doing with our exercise AND rest? If you remember, last week’s challenge was to add both to your daily life. We need exercise to keep us as healthy as possible and we need rest for the same reason. (On a side note, our pastor’s sermon this week was on – you got it! – rest.) I’m going to have to say that I did pretty good last week. I got exercise in five days out of seven. And I think I only missed one day of sitting down and “taking a breather” for a few minutes every afternoon. I more than made up for it with my 2+ hour nap on Sunday afternoon, though. 🙂

Because it’s summer and it’s HOT (!!!), I think we will just continue with this challenge this week and add on another little component: trading an unhealthy snack for a healthy one. So…instead of ice cream, have yogurt. Instead of a piece of candy, some fruit. Ice cold watermelon…mmmmmmm! That’s what I’m talking about. If you’re feeling motivated, start journaling or tracking what you eat. I’ve got a journal where I’m writing down motivational quotes and such. I’ve been tracking what I eat on the “Lost It” app for the iPhone. If I remember to carry my phone, it also tracks how many steps I take in a day. Did you know you should aim for 10,000? However, I’m prone to sitting my phone down and therefore missing out on that part of it. I did get over 10,000 steps on the day I remembered.

So that’s this week’s challenge:

1. Exercise a little every day.

2. Rest a little every day.

3. Trade unhealthy snacks for healthier ones.

It helps me to write down my goals. So if you do have a  journal, you might write these three things down and then on a daily basis, honestly assess how you did. No one has to see it but you, so tell yourself the truth! 🙂

Oh, and keep hydrated! Again, it’s HOT here and I can’t be out there more than a few minutes without feeling parched. (I said that in my head in my best sweet Southern voice.) So drink your water!

It’s time for my few minutes of quiet so I’m off to do some deep breathing.

Lynne

P.S. Here’s my quote for the day: “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” ~ Ralph Marston

Happy Monday!

Good Monday morning!

We are packing and getting ready to head out on our little adventure. I’m excited to have a couple of days away!

Remember to be quiet and still for five minutes some time today. It may not be easy to squeeze it in (but if you can’t find five minutes, we will be addressing your schedule soon!), but it will be worth it. I try for 15 minutes total – five minutes morning, midday, and after dinner.

And don’t forget to move that body today! I’m hoping for a hike this afternoon myself, but any movement is good for you. Your body wasn’t meant to be sitting on the couch all day. (Sorry!)

Y’all have a good one. I’ve got to finish packing! 🙂

Lynne

Schedules and Routines

Hi, all!

I must apologize for the sporadic blogging lately! It has been a very busy couple of weeks and – honestly – I’ve been too tired to get to it most days. I’m still waiting for my Easter nap. I know I’ll get it one day! 🙂

That being said, having a schedule or routine (whichever you want to call it) for my day certainly has helped keep me mostly on track with things at home. Menu planning helps tremendously as well. So I thought I’d share my basic weekly schedule with you. Keep in mind that this is just a goal. Some days it’s just a dream. We all have those days and that’s okay. But having a regular schedule/routine can keep you from falling so far behind that you feel you can’t catch up. Everyone’s schedule/routine will look different, of course. It depends on so many things: kids, work, kids, work. 🙂

Anyway, here it is.

Every morning I get up and have my coffee and do my devotional first thing. What a great way to start your day! I walk or run 2-3 times a week and do yoga on Friday mornings. Gotta take care of yourself!

Mondays

  • Work: 9:00 – 2:00
  • Laundry: whites
  • Kitchen: Empty out leftovers

Dinner is usually something in the crock pot since it’s a work day.

Tuesdays

  • Work: 9:00 – 2:00
  • Laundry: towels
  • Kitchen: Clean counter tops and wipe down all knobs and handles on cabinets and appliances; sweep and mop.
  • Clean bathrooms.

Wednesdays

  • Laundry: dark clothes (jeans, t-shirts, etc.)
  • Living Room: vacuum and dust
  • Menu plan for next week.

Thursdays

  • Laundry: delicates
  • Vacuum and mop downstairs floors.
  • Pay bills and balance checkbook.

Friday

  • Laundry: sheets, work clothes for hubby if needed
  • General “straightening up” in the downstairs and light cleaning as needed.
  • Grocery shop (Least. Favorite. Thing.)

Saturday

  • Rest up for Sunday.
  • No housework if possible.

Sunday

  • Work: 7:30 – 12:30
  • NAP!!
  • HOME group every other week

Every night before going to bed, I take a few minutes (just 5-10) to prep my coffee pot for the morning and “pick up” the living room and kitchen so I don’t have to wake up to a mess. I’ll also wash up any dishes in the sink if needed.

Since I enjoy gardening and yard work, neither is on the “chore” list. I do those when I can or when I need to. Every day includes time to sit down and have coffee and I always read for about 30 minutes before going to sleep.

So that’s how my weeks usually go. Take some time this week to look at your days and see where you can streamline your days and spread out your housework over the week so you don’t have to spend your days off tackling a giant pile of laundry or cleaning the entire weekend. Where’s the fun in that?

Y’all have a great week!

Blessings,
Lynne

 

Weekly Challenges: Day by Day

Hey, y’all!

I hope you had a great weekend! I did. I made strawberry jam for the first time with some sweet Florida strawberries. (Thanks to the Girls Scouts here Aiken who got them here somehow.) Twelve half-pints of them even. I made some homemade tortillas which were quite the bomb. (At least in my estimation.) Sunday was busy with church, a nap (duh!) and then our last week of FPU.

I’ve been contemplating weekly challenges and this week – because it will be easier for me 🙂 – I’m given (issuing?) four challenges. There would have been fine but clearly, I’m posting late (during commercial breaks during Dancing with the Stars), so there’s really not time for a challenge today. Please accept my humblest apologies for giving you a day off. So, here are the four things that I’m challenging you to this week. I would love to hear from you and get some progress reports. Pictures would be even better.

Challenge #1: Make a menu plan for dinner. Plan 4-5 dinners per week. Have leftovers two other nights (or sandwiches or let the family fend for themselves). That still leaves a night to order pizza or eat out if you choose. I posted last week a four meal plan along with a grocery list. All four meals utilize the slow cooker (Your BEST friend in the kitchen, I kid you not. Unless you have a chef.) Here’s the link to that post:

https://lifedoesnthavetobethisway.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/four-dinners-shopping-list-for-next-week/

I followed that post with four additional posts with step-by-step instructions for each meal including what to do in the morning (as in, put things in the slow cooker) and what to do to complete the meal. Easy peasy. You can’ find those posts on the blog or on the Facebook page under “Notes.”

Challenge #2: Get some exercise. It’s not a dreaded word. Be not afraid! I’m not expecting you to go run a 5K this weekend. (But, hey, that’s entirely up to you!) But – gasp! – summer is just around the corner and that means swimsuits! Yikes!! I shudder. If you don’t have an exercise regimen (I said that in my mind in a serious voice), it’s time to get with the program. If you are not an exercise-r, start slow and easy. (Disclaimer: Consult you doctor before beginning an exercise program.) Walk the dog. Walk around the block. Take a class. If you moving from your couch for the first time in a long time, walk to the mailbox and back. Based on all that I’ve read – and that’s a lot – you need to be exercising 3-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes per session. The key to continuing with exercise is finding something you enjoy (and you will find it) and do that. You won’t go back to the gym if you hate the gym. (I hate the gym. Just saying.) I like doing my walking and running outside as opposed to on a treadmill and I really enjoy Zumba and yoga. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Challenge #3: Get together with a friend. Someone you haven’t seen in a while or haven’t had a real conversation with in a while. (K, I’ll be in touch!) Life gets crazy and we let this go. But friendships are important and you have to tend them to maintain them…just like a garden. If you can, spend 30 minutes over a cup of coffee or tea just catching up. Hey…you can do challenge #2 while catching up. In fact, that’s an awesome idea. Walking and talking is GREAT! Did that just today with my buddy Kathryn. If you can’t physically get together, there’s Facetime (I’ve done that now!) and Skype. But in person is always best. Find 30 minutes. It’s one sitcom or reality show. You can do it. (That’s why we have DVRs.)

Challenge #4: Do something for YOURSELF. Take a nap. Get a massage. (I’m doing that Wednesday.) Pick up and read a book you’ve had your eye on. Take a bubble bath. Do all of these things. Watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see. Do all of these things. Just do something that’s just for you that makes YOU happy. It’s not being selfish. Sometimes you just have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of the people in your life. If you don’t, it will catch up with you eventually. Anything that can “catch up with you eventually” is never good. Never.

And try to remember to do one or two of these things for 15 minutes a day. Just 15…no longer. Little by little does the trick. The tortoise always beats the hare. You know the drill.

  • Purge something (a bookshelf, a drawer, a closet, a cooking magazine collection…ahem!) and separate things into the give, donate, and toss categories. And then give, donate or toss them.
  • Straighten up the area you see first thing in the morning before you go to bed at night. What a relief to have an area free of clutter to wake up to.
  • Make your bed. It really does make a difference in how your room looks and feels.
  • Put away your laundry. (I’m working on this one.) I do mean the clean laundry, not the dirty stuff.

Let someone you love know that you love them every day! Smile at the cashier at the grocery store. Do something nice for your hubby or wife “just because.” And have a GREAT week!

Lynne

 

 

 

The Need for a Budget (sigh)

Good morning!

Sorry I am late in posting. I’ve been on a cleaning frenzy. It’s what I do when I feel a little stressed, and I was feeling a little stressed. I feel better now and my fridge has been cleaned out again. So it’s all good. Sometimes stress has positive effects. 🙂

I know we hear on the news all the time about the budget crisis. Right now, it’s hitting pretty close to home. For those of you in our area, you know all of  the rumors that have been going around about reducing work hours, furloughs, etc., that will affect many of us in some way. (For those of you not in our area, our largest employer depends on government funding. FYI, our government isn’t too good at budget balancing and such.) Those have now been confirmed in one way or another.

I would love to tell you that I am a great budget-er, but I am not. However, with these budget cuts looming ahead – and pretty darn close – in my own future, I have determined I better get to it and quick! I mean…they are cutting MY personal budget. How dare they? So if you live near me and smell smoke today, it could be my brain working on a new budget. Cutting out the unnecessary. Streamlining the rest. I love math. Hate budgets. Go figure.

Starting tomorrow, we will have a series of Friday guest posts on budgeting. I think that they’ll be helpful to all of us, whether we are facing job loss, reduced work hours, or even trying to determine if staying home is an option.

I know this is short but I’ve got work to do! Hard, mind-numbing work. Pray for me! 🙂

Have a blessed day!

Lynne

Saturday Challenge: A Question for You

Good Saturday morning!

This post is a little late because, well, I slept in a bit. Until almost 8:30…:) I’ve had my first cup of coffee and that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. My dear husband went to the grocery store for me and I am ever so grateful because: 1) I really don’t like going to the grocery store. 2) I especially don’t like going to the grocery store on Saturday. 3) I especially especially don’t like going to the grocery store when it’s cold and rainy. And here in our neck of the woods, it’s a cold, rainy Saturday morning. Bless him!

Anyway, I have been putting my brain to the test this week trying to decide on the next challenge project. Most of the major living spaces have been covered, and we’ve done menu planning and laundry. (You can find those in archives (blog) or notes (Facebook). Remember: If you’re new, start at the beginning. If you haven’t take the challenges already posted, that’s where you need to start.But, if you’ve been moving along in the challenges since the beginning, you need something new.

In either case, I am going to ask you, our lovely (or handsome, as the case may be) readers what you’d like to be next week’s big challenge. Here is a list of five possibilities. Please respond by commenting (either on Facebook or on the blog post) which one you want us to tackle next.

1.  Laundry room (or laundry closet, if you’re like me)

2. Pantry (I filled mine to the brim and then some this week. In a hurry. So it’s a mess!)

3. Garage or storage building (This one scares me because of the possibility of coming face-to-face with a cockroach. Truth.)

4. Linen closet (including how many sheets, etc. we actually need)

5. Photos (This one scares me, too, but not because of cockroaches. Just because of the volume of photos I have.)

So leave your comments, please. Pretty please! And if you have ideas for upcoming posts (after Monday), please email me your suggestions or needs at lynneandteresa@yahoo.com. I want to address the things that you feel you need the most help with. But you’ve got to let me know. 🙂

Have a blessed Saturday! Take it easy. I see a day of coffee and reading in my future. The weatherman says we might see a flake or two of snow. I’m not sure whether to keep my fingers crossed for or against it. Either way, I’ll be observing from my chair in the living room.

Lynne